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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd
2004-07-30 - 3:58 p.m.
The Whole World is Watching
Election stakes are high this year -- for all of us in the United States, but they are high for the rest of the world, too. They are obviously high for the Middle East...but the choice between George W. Bush and John Kerry are perhaps even higher in Europe. Europe at this point may be willing to define the past three and a half years as just a difficult period -- an aberration. Another four years, however, might just cause Europe, as well as Al Queda, to define themselves as our enemy. We are simultaneously the most hated, feared, loved and admired nation on the planet. The current administration has not only frittered away the financial surplus it inherited from the Clinton administration, it has squandered the goodwill of much of the world. I had hoped that Madelein Albright would lay it out strongly, lay it out for all the world to see, because I believe this is a foreign policy election as critical for the world as it is for the U.S.
Just yesterday my grandson Max flew with his Little League tem to Inuyama City, Japan, Davis' sister city...for a cultural exchange - the first time a foreign Little League team has ever traveled to Japan for competition. The Davis players will be staying with host Japanese families. It's a big deal for the twelve baseball players, aged 10-12. I believe it's a big deal for our country, too. Our government for the past three and a half years has left our reputation stained abroad...not only because of the unilateral preemptive attack on Iraq, but because Bush's decision to drop out of international implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, as well. It is up to the people who travel abroad to do what they can to alleviate that tarnish, to give hope to the countries they visit.
Night before last John Edwards said it far better than I ever could - Hope is on the way!
Tonight -- tonight, as we celebrate in this hall, somewhere in America, a mother sits at her kitchen table. She can't sleep because she's worried. She can't pay her bills. She's working hard trying to pay her rent, trying to feed her kids, but she just can't catch up. Didn't used to be that way in her house. Her husband was called up in the Guard. Now he's been in Iraq for over a year. They thought he was going to come home last month, but now he's got to stay longer. She thinks she's alone. But tonight in this hall and in your homes, you know what? She's got a lot of friends. We want her to know that we hear her. It is time to bring opportuniity and an equal chance to her door.
A little hokey - maybe. But I'll bet it tugged at the heartstrings of more than a few people all across this country -- at least those who were listening on C-SPAN, 'cause that was about the only place you could hear every word spoken from the podium. Mainstream TV chose to give the public regular fare except for an hour or so each of the four nights.
A message from Common Cause today:
The Big Three networks have decided that our democracy is bad for their business, which is why this week viewers were treated to worm munching (NBC's Fear Factor), puking (CBS's Big Brother 5) and liposuction (ABC's Extreme Makeover) instead of primetime convention coverage from Boston's Fleet Center.
Superstar Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama reminded us: "In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?"
Senator Kerry has some ideas about global warning, too:
"Bush's abrupt and unilateral decision to abandon discussions with the world community on climate change was early evidence of this Administration's misguided approach to dealing with the community of nations. Dropping out of international implementation of the Kyoto Protocol was foolhardy then, and it is even more foolhardy today. In our absence, many of our major trading partners in Europe and elsewhere have been working on the details of international programs to manage greenhouse gas emissions. American interests are on the sidelines, having no ability to influence the development of a system that will profoundly affect the global approach to resource protection and investment in climate change technologies...."
In Senator Kerry's speech before the convetion last night,he pointed out that while America's safety looked much different four years ago, so did its economic security. Four years ago, the two parties debated how to spend the surplus that had been accumulated during the four years of the Democratic Clinton administration. This year there's no surplus...but a Kerry administration promises a thoughtful approach to improved health care and education by trimming the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
He promised to stop the outsourcing of jobs and the dependency on Middle East oil. I wish he'd given us more specifics about how he plans to accomplish these two feats. But if he hadn't said anything else, he won me over with this: "And as President, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to."
And with this:
And from an Emily's List blog:
Yes, the state REPUBLICAN party....An article in the St. Petersburg Times told of a flyer paid for by the state Republican party clearly laid out concerns about the new machines and urged Republican voters to vote absentee to ensure their votes would count.
As Gore told the convention (and as we all know) - "Every vote counts!"
Let's go and vote because it matters. Let's each try to get some young people to register and vote. And then...let's concentrate on getting a Democratic congress elected, as well. And if you don't believe it matters, talk to the 900 families that lost their kids in Iraq. And to the thousands who will come home missing body parts.
And didn't your heart just sing when Rev. Al Sharpton extemporaneously (off-script!) explained to our President just why Afro-Americans so often vote Democratic? Republicans "promised us 40 acres and a mule"..."still don't have..." "until we do, we're gonna ride this donkey..."